Posts Tagged ‘Westafrika’

Afrika: Mitspieler gesucht

Dienstag, Januar 29th, 2013

“USA wollen Drohnenstützpunkt in Afrika

Die USA wollen islamistische Extremisten und Al-Kaida-Ableger in Afrika besser kontrollieren können. Zu diesem Zweck plant das Verteidigungsministerium einen Drohnenstützpunkt Nordwestafrika.

Noch halten sich die USA aus dem Konflikt in Mali heraus. Das könnte sich aber bald ändern. Das Verteidigungsministerium erwägt offenbar den Einsatz von ferngesteuerten Überwachungsdrohnen im Krisengebiet von Mali.

Im Visier der vorerst unbewaffneten US-Operation aus der Luft sind Gruppen des Terrornetzwerkes Al-Kaida sowie islamistische Extremisten. Das berichtete die Tageszeitung «New York Times» am Montag.

Zu den möglichen Standorten zählten Regierungsmitarbeiter das im Osten an Mali grenzende Niger sowie das südlich von Mali gelegene Burkina Faso. Die Drohnen könnten so schnell wie möglich die von Frankreich geführte Mission in Mali unterstützen, hiess es.

Die einzige ständige Militärbasis der USA in Afrika liegt in Dschibuti, weit im Osten des Kontinents. Vertreter des Militärs bestätigten auch dem Fernsehsender Fox News entsprechende Pläne und Niger als Standort. Allerdings befinde sich der Stützpunkt noch in der Planungsphase. Weder das Pentagon noch das Weisse Haus oder die Regierung in Niger hätten die Pläne bestätigt.

IWF und Japan sichern Mali Millionen zu

Nebst technischer Hilfe aus der Luft ist auch finanzielle Unterstützung in Sicht. Japan kündigte an, das westafrikanische Land und andere Staaten der Sahel-Zone mit zusätzlich 120 Millionen Dollar zu unterstützen.

Das Geld solle helfen, die Region zu stabilisieren und die Sicherheit zu verbessern, erklärte der japanische Aussenminister Fumio Kishida. Unter anderem sei es zur Finanzierung von Friedenseinsätzen gedacht.

Der IWF seinerseits gewährte Mali einen Kredit von 18,4 Millionen Dollar. Dieser solle dem Land erlauben, sich von der Rezession zu erholen und die wirtschaftliche Stabilität wiederherzustellen.

Doch diese erste Finanzspritze ist nur ein Tropfen auf den heissen Stein. Benötigt würden für den Militäreinsatz der Allianz 950 Millionen Dollar. Dies sagte der Präsident der Elfenbeinküste und Vorsitzende der westafrikanischen Wirtschaftsgemeinschaft Ecowas, Alassane Ouatarra, bei der Eröffnung einer Geberkonferenz für das Krisenland in der äthiopischen Hauptstadt Addis Abeba.

10 000 Soldaten würden benötigt, um das riesige Land aus der Hand von islamistischen Extremisten zu befreien – weit mehr als die ursprünglich geplanten 3300, fügte er hinzu.”

 

(Quelle: SRF.ch)

Siehe auch:

Ein “Kollateralschaden”
The imperial agenda of the US’s ‘Africa Command’ marches on
America’s Best Worst Partner in Africa
U.S. Airlift of French forces to Mali
Ambassador Christopher Dell, DCMA, spoke with journalists from Burkina Faso and Niger during their visit to AFRICOM headquarters
Mali: Fortsetzung des Drohnenkriegs gegen Dschihadisten

Update:

Pentagon richtet Drohnen-Stützpunkt in Niger ein

Global: Welt-Hunger und Private Rentenfonds

Dienstag, Mai 17th, 2011

“Pension Fund Investors May be to Blame for Escalating Food Prices

By Isolda Agazzi

Long-term investors like pension funds are probably the reason why the prices of commodities, including crops, have been driven to a higher level than in 2008 when food riots erupted in 30 countries, according to the British nongovernmental organisation Christian Aid.

“In recent years, the way food prices have risen has mirrored the way investment has flowed into the individual commodities futures markets”, Andrew Hogg, campaigns editor at Christian Aid, told IPS in an interview.

The social justice organisation has just released “Hungry for justice: Fighting starvation in an age of plenty”, a study indicating that between Jan. 2005 and Jun. 2008, food prices rose by an average of 83 percent. And it is even worse now: in Feb. 2011, they trumped the record figures of Jun. 2008 when food riots erupted in some 30 countries.

While financial speculation in agricultural products has largely contributed to this increase, the study suggests that the main responsibility does not lie with hedge funds and “cowboy” speculators, as usually assumed, but rather with the more prudent institutional investors such as pension funds.

“While we are not able to definitively prove that investment in commodity futures is driving up food prices, we are saying that the similarities in increases makes a strong case for urgent investigation into whether this enormous amount of money is contributing to global hunger,” Hogg specified.

In financial jargon, “futures” are what is believed a crop would be worth at some defined point in the future when it will be harvested.

While these products have been around for hundreds of years – usually as a way of giving farmers an advance income to invest in production – today companies have a huge amount of money to invest in the respective values of crops.

Another major turn has been the creation of commodity index funds, that is, indices of commodities bundled together.

Goldman Sachs opened the first commodity index fund in 1991. The bank selected 18 commodities, including wheat, coffee, cocoa and pork, and invited investors to invest in this bundle of commodities rather than in individual ones. Since then, other indices have appeared.

Following the U.S.’s deregulation of commodities trading in indices in 2000, these funds began to attract an influx of non-traditional investors, such as pension funds and managed investment funds that were betting on the rise of commodities after the burst of the dot-com bubble.

The total value held by institutional investors in these funds increased from 15 billion dollars in 2003 to 317 billion dollars in mid-2008.

In contrast with hedge funds where selling and buying of shares happen at a rapid pace and where funds move “against the market” – they buy when the price is low and sell when it is high – long-term institutional investors look for “safe” returns. And since people will always need to eat, food crops are seen as low risk investments.

“Never again should policymakers agree to such regulatory changes without assessing their impact on the poor in developing countries,” Hogg exclaimed. “It is impossible now to ban investment in commodity futures but we send a strong warning that these consequences had not been predicted. People should have thought about this more.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that almost one billion people experience chronic hunger. “This is a scandal in an age where we should be able to feed everybody,” Hogg commented.

“There will always be shortages due to events like earthquakes, wars or cyclones, but they can be remedied with international aid. The persistent problem of hunger should attract our concern, particularly since things may get even worse in future,” added Hogg.

One of the main threats to chronic hunger comes from climate change. Some surveys suggest that if nothing is done, the number of malnourished children under five is going to be 24 million higher in 2050 than if the climate had remained unchanged.

In Africa it is predicted that, by 2020, some 75 to 250 million people in places such as northern Kenya will be exposed to increased water stress that will drive them to urban areas.

Another neglected issue is investment in agriculture. “We call for sustainable agricultural practices and more investment in agriculture,” Hogg continued.

“Agriculture has been badly hit because the West has tried to impose economic policies on developing countries that have not worked. What we suggest is that investment and research be increased. Ultimately the small-holder farmer could be the solution to the question of food security.”

In the first half of May a cabinet minister of Cameroon, speaking in Geneva, called it a “scandal” that the West African country imports 90 percent of the rice it consumes. He issued a plea to foreigners to invest in agriculture in Cameroon.

He insisted, however, that as his country aims to be self-sufficient, the resulting crops should primarily feed the local population with only the surplus being exported. Also, value addition should be done locally.

Hogg pointed out that Christian Aid does not believe that foreign direct investment (FDI) is necessarily devoid of benefits for locals.

If provisions are put in place to protect the livelihoods and land rights of people, FDI could be to their advantage. But it should be recognised that people living on the land might not have enough negotiating power to protect their livelihoods, therefore contracts have to be carefully scrutinised. (END)”

 

(Quelle: IPS News.)

Westafrika: “Ich bin kein Libanese – ich bin Mandingo”

Donnerstag, März 3rd, 2011

Von Björn Zimprich

Sie sprechen westafrikanische Sprachen als Muttersprachen, aber haben eine helle Haut. Die Nachfahren der frühen libanesischen Einwanderer nach Westafrika führen ein Leben zwischen den Stühlen

In westafrikanischen Ländern gibt es eine wirtschaftlich einflussreiche Minderheit: Libanesen. Sie dominieren den Export-Importhandel, vertreten internationale Konzerne und haben ihre Finger im Zwischenhandel im Spiel. Die meisten Familien kamen im Zuge des libanesischen Bürgerkriegs, der in der Levante von 1975 bis 1990 tobte. Staaten wie die boomende Elfenbeinküste boten nicht nur mehr Sicherheit, sondern auch wirtschaftliche Entfaltungsmöglichkeiten. Aber das Wichtigste ist: Einreisebeschränkungen gab es in vielen afrikanischen Staaten nicht. Argwöhnisch von vielen Afrikanern beäugt, verdienen zigtausend Libanesen bis zum heutigen Tag ihren Lebensunterhalt im fernen Afrika.
Aber auch schon lange vor dem libanesischen Bürgerkrieg lebten Libanesen in Westafrika. Die ersten Menschen aus dem Gebiet des heutigen Libanons kamen schon vor über 100 Jahren an die westafrikanische Küste. Mehrere Generationen libanesischstämmiger Westafrikaner wurden mittlerweile geboren. Viele identifizieren sich heute weit mehr mit Afrika, als mit dem fernen Libanon.

Zu Hause in der afrikanischen Sprachenvielfalt

“Ich bin kein Libanese, ich bin Mandingo”, schießt es aus Nabih heraus. Nabih spricht Englisch, denn die Runde ist bunt bestückt: Europäer, Libanesen, Afrikaner. Der Mann ist betagte 80 Jahre alt. Er gehört zur ersten Einwanderergeneration. “Ich bin in einem Dorf am Oberlauf des Gambiaflusses aufgewachsen.” Bansang liegt weit entfernt von der Küste, im letzten Drittel von Gambia, dem kleinsten Flächenstaat Afrikas. In der Region dominiert die Volksgruppe der Mandingos. “Wir waren nur eine libanesische Familie im Dorf, damals in den 1940er Jahren.” Nabih spielte in seiner Kindheit ausschließlich mit den Kindern der Nachbarschaft. Arabisch sprach man hier nicht. “Wenn ich träume, dann träume ich in Mandingo”, sagt Nabih mit einem gewissen Stolz in der Stimme.
Nabih fällt ins Mandingo als er mit dem Angestellten seines kleinen Textilgeschäfts scherzt. Beide lachen. Seine 73-jährige Cousine stellt eine Frage. Plötzlich ist die Kommunikationssprache Aku. Eine Form des Pidginenglisch, verwandt mit dem Kreol aus Sierra Leone. Für englischsprachige Personen sind jetzt nur noch Bruchstücke zu identifizieren. Nabih erklärt sich: “Nachdem wir nach Banjul gezogen sind, haben wir in einem Aku-Viertel gewohnt.” Er spricht daher mit seinen Cousins und Cousinen nur Aku.
“Wolof und Fula spreche ich auch fließend”, versichert Nabih ungefragt. “Und Arabisch?” Nabih senkt seinen Blick. “Ja Arabisch”, seine Stimme pausiert, er fasst sich an den Kopf. “Es ist eine Schande, aber Arabisch spreche ich kaum. Ich verstehe auch nicht viel. Schreiben und lesen kann ich ohnehin nicht. Ich habe es nie gelernt”, bedauert der gläubige Schiit.
Nabih fühlt sich also im westafrikanischen Sprachenwirrwarr pudelwohl. Nur bei der Muttersprache seiner Vorfahren kommt er ins stocken. Den Libanon kennt Nabih auch fast nur aus Erzählungen und dem Fernsehen. “Ich war mal dort, aber das ist ewig her. Das Land ist schön, die Früchte frisch, aber es herrscht immer Krieg.” Den Traum, in die alte Heimat zurück zu gehen, hegt Nabih nicht. “Was soll ich da? Ich bin hier zu Hause!”
“Hier”, das ist das Gambia des Jahres 2010, um genau zu sein die Hauptstadt Banjul. Die Zeiten, in denen libanesische Familien unter spartanischen Bedingungen in den Dörfern am Flussoberlauf lebten, sind vorbei. Die Dörfer wurden in den 1970er Jahren mit Schnellstraßen erschlossen. Der Handel mittels Speedbooten über den Gambiafluss, den die Libanesen seit der Zeit der britischen Kolonialherrschaft dominierten, brach endgültig zusammen. Gambianische und mauretanische Zwischen- und Einzelhändler versorgen nun die Provinzen “Upper River” und “Basse”.
Die Libanesen leben heute am schmalen Küstenstreifen. Hier gibt es Strom, Klimaanlagen und Kühlschränke. “Die Libanesen” sind dabei aber eine genauso bunte Mischung wie “die Gambianer”. Sie reichen von jungen Arbeitsmigranten aus dem Libanon, die Arabisch, aber am Anfang kaum Englisch, geschweige den Mandingo oder Wolof sprechen, bis hin zu Menschen wie Nabih, die weniger Zeit im Libanon verbracht haben als mancher Deutscher auf Mallorca.

Imageprobleme der libanesischen Einwanderer

“Ich bin vor 80 Jahren hier geboren, aber viele Gambianer denken, ich sei ein Einwanderer. Die denken, ich sei hier um den Leuten das Geld aus dem Land zu stehlen”, ärgert sich Nabih. Viele der Migranten aus dem Libanon haben ein sehr schlechtes Image in Afrika. Sie besetzen wichtige Positionen in libanesisch geführten Unternehmen und leben im Vergleich zum Durchschnittsafrikaner im puren Luxus. Zudem wird ihnen, sicher nicht immer zu Unrecht, vorgeworfen, sich manchmal respektlos gegenüber ihrer afrikanischen Umgebung zu verhalten.
Dieses Negativimage fällt auch auf die Nachfahren der ersten libanesischen Einwanderer zurück. “Ich habe regelmäßig Probleme bei Polizeikontrollen. Ich habe noch kein Wort gesagt, und schon werfen die mir vor, dass ich mich als Libanese als was besseres fühlen würde”, sagt Mohammad, Nabihs 33-jähriger Sohn. “Wenn ich dann mit der Polizei fließend Wolof rede, lassen sich die meisten Probleme regeln, aber am Anfang gibt es immer Probleme.”
Ähnliche Erfahrungen machen auch andere aus seiner Generation. “Wir fallen mit unserer hellen Hautfarbe einfach auf. Manchmal verwechseln uns die Kinder sogar mit Touristen aus Europa!”, führt eine Cousine von Mohammad aus, “sie betteln dann nach Bonbons und Geld. Ich kann keine 100 Meter laufen, ohne dass mir Kinder lauthals hinterher rufen.”
Mohammad und Co stecken in einem typischen Dilemma. Zwar wollen sie ihre libanesische Abstammung nicht verleugnen, aber eigentlich fühlen sie sich als Gambianer. Sie verbindet weit mehr mit dem Land, in dem sie aufgewachsen sind, als mit der fernen Heimat der Vorfahren. Allerdings akzeptieren die meisten Gambianer sie auch nach Generationen nicht als Bestandteil ihres multiethnischen Landes. Wenn sie Schwarz wären, wären sie wohl längst assimiliert. Aber Mohammad hat Hoffnung: “In ein, zwei Generationen werden wir ganz akzeptiert sein.” Bis dahin bleibt ihm und seinen Verwandten aber nur der Platz zwischen den Stühlen.”

 

(Quelle: [dī.wān].)

 

Anmerkung

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Global: (Be-)Merkenswerte Gesundheitsstatistik

Mittwoch, Juli 14th, 2010

GLOBAL: Ten eyebrow-raising health stats



Photo: Tugela Ridley/IRIN
Where are the world’s youngest mothers?

DAKAR, 14 July 2010 (IRIN) – Pause for thought: IRIN has trawled the 2010 World Health Statistics report to bring you 10 fascinating facts on global health.

Not the spreadable kind: In 43 low-income countries 40 percent more people had non-communicable diseases – including diabetes, heart disease and stroke – than infectious illnesses in 2004. Non-infectious diseases killed 33 million worldwide in 2004.

Sleepless in Swaziland: No under-five children slept under insecticide-treated bed nets to ward off malarial mosquitoes in Swaziland, whereas in Madagascar 60 percent of children did so, according to the countries’ most recent surveys conducted since 2000.

Midwifery in Uzbekistan: Uzbekistan is the only low-income country in the past decade to boast coverage of nurses and midwives similar to that in high-income countries – 108 nurses and/or midwives per 10,000 residents. Australia (109), Switzerland (110), Luxembourg (104) and Canada’s (100) are comparable.

Oil-rich, but doctor-poor: Equatorial Guinea, which in 2009 had the world’s 64th highest per capita income, and the highest in sub-Saharan Africa (World Bank), had the same number of doctors per 10,000 residents (3) as did Bangladesh, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Namibia, Togo, Sudan, Yemen and the Pacific islands of Samoa and Tonga.

Protected in the Pacific: Fewer than a quarter of women in Africa reported using contraception, while over 80 percent of women in the region WHO classifies as western Pacific used it. Chad had the world’s lowest contraceptive use at 2.8 percent.

Choking on fumes: Of the 20 countries worldwide where more than 95 percent of those surveyed reported using solid fuels (wood, coal, charcoal, crops) for indoor cooking – associated with higher rates of fatal respiratory diseases like pneumonia – six are in West Africa (not counting Benin, Gambia and Chad, which come within points of the highest threshold.)


Photo: Rodrigo A. Nguema/IRIN
Petrol dollars have not made it to parts of Equatorial Guinea’s capital, Malabo (file photo)

Measles: While 76 percent of one-year-olds in Africa on average were immunized against measles in 2008 versus 58 percent in 1990, these rates were 24 and 51 percent, respectively, in Somalia and Equatorial Guinea in 2008.

Slow on sanitation: Thirty percent of people in Africa used “improved sanitation facilities” – including a composting or flushing toilet, piped sewer systems, septic tanks, or latrines with open ventilation or concrete slabs – in 1990. Eighteen years later, the statistical equivalent of less than half an additional person joined them.

Under-weight children: Some four out of 10 under-five children are considered underweight in Niger, India and Yemen.

Youngest mothers: Almost two out of 10 girls aged 15-19 in Niger have given birth, followed by Afghanistan (1.5) and Bangladesh (1.3).

 

(Quelle: IRIN News.)

 

Siehe auch:

GLOBAL: Poll ranks AIDS as top health issue
GLOBAL: Health lessons from four big earthquakes

Senegal: Zwangsheiraten

Dienstag, Juli 13th, 2010

“SENEGAL: Out of school, into marriage

DAKAR, (IRIN) – Twelve-year-old Rama* in Senegal’s Sédhiou region is still in school instead of wedded to a man in his 40s, after community members convinced her father to abandon the family’s plan to give her away.

But in most cases family or social pressure to marry off young girls still wins out in many regions of the country, researchers and educators say.

‘It is quite common to see parents remove their daughters from school to force them into marriage,’ Saliou Sarr, secondary school principal in Mpal, 33km from the city of Saint-Louis, told IRIN.

National statistics on the number of girls leaving school to get married are not available, an Education Ministry official said.

In Sarr’s school 10 percent of girls aged 12-15 leave school annually because of family-arranged marriages. In a high school in the town of Guiré Yoro Boccar in the Kolda region, of the 43 girls admitted to secondary school this academic year 40 have got married and will not continue school, according to an Education Ministry representative in the region. 

‘Many parents say they push marriage for fear their daughters will start to have sex for money or because keeping them in the household becomes too expensive,’ Sarr told IRIN.

He explained that in Senegal young women who do not marry and whose families have few means often turn to commercial sex work to be able to buy what they want, especially in cities.

While some families worry about what they see as the risks of not marrying off their girls, the risks of forced early marriage are many – particularly for health, said reproductive health expert Fatim Thiam.

Law versus custom

Senegalese law holds that if a girl is under 18 the man must wait to consummate the marriage but ‘in practice this is never respected’, said Abdoulaye Seck, vice-president of Amnesty International in Senegal.

Marriage is legal from age 18; for girls aged 16-18 parents must give authorization; for those aged 13-16, a judge must decide. Marriage to girls under 13 is unlawful.

But as in 12-year-old Rama’s case, for many, custom outweighs the law.

‘The father argued that he had to marry off his daughter because pressure from elders in the family was so great,’ said Lamine Sané, history and geography teacher in Sédhiou and coordinator of a human rights and awareness club Amnesty launched in high schools in 2008. He and his colleagues met Rama’s father after she broke down crying one day in class and told of the marriage plan.

‘We referred the matter to a prosecutor who then called for legal mediation… Eventually the father abandoned the plan.’

Sané said since awareness of the issue has expanded, communities have often been turning to the media or the justice system to put pressure on families who would give away their young girls.

But most forced marriages go uncontested. A recent study by UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the University of Ziguinchor said early pregnancy and forced and early marriage were types of sexual violence faced by young girls. ‘But these acts of violence generally do not go through a legal process. Rarely will a victim of early marriage take their case to a judge. They tend to resign themselves.’

* Not her real name “

 

(Quelle: IRIN News.)

Siehe auch:

AFGHANISTAN: The tribulations of child-bearing children
NIGER: Where childhood ends on the marriage bed
PHILIPPINES: Early marriage puts girls at risk
SENEGAL: Silence endangers girls
YEMEN: ‘I’d rather die than go back to him’

BRD: Die blinden Flecken im “Piratenprozess”

Freitag, Juni 18th, 2010

“Questions Abound about EU’s ‘Combating’ of Piracy

By Julio Godoy

Credit: EU NAVFOR

German Warship FGS Emden patrolling the Indian Ocean

BERLIN, Jun 16, 2010 (IPS) – Modern German justice had never handled a case of piracy until Jun 11, when 10 Somali seafarers, including children, were presented at a tribunal in the city port of Hamburg, some 300 km west from Berlin, on charges of robbing cargo in the Indian Ocean.

The accused are the first Somali people to be prosecuted in Germany as part of Operation Atalanta, the European Union’s military surveillance of the Indian Ocean officially established ‘to help deter, prevent and repress acts of piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia’.

According to the Hamburg prosecutor’s office, the Somali seafarers on Apr 5 attacked the German container ship Taipan. The cargo was liberated the same day by Dutch soldiers serving in Operation Atalanta.

The EU claims that the operation’s objectives are ‘the protection of vessels of the World Food Programme delivering food aid to displaced persons in Somalia, of vulnerable vessels cruising off the Somali coast, and the deterrence, prevention and repression of acts of piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast’.

To that effect, since Dec 2008 EU war ships and planes and several hundred soldiers patrol the Indian Ocean to chase what the EU calls ‘Somali pirates’.

However, critics of the operation suggest that its hidden mission is to protect European vessels accused by Somali seafarers and international organisations of another form of piracy: illegal fishing and the dumping of toxic waste, including radioactive material, in Somali waters.

One example of the EU’s protection of vessels fishing illegally in the waters of the Horn of Africa is the Spanish tuna fishing boat Alakrana. In Oct 2009, Somali pirates seized the boat, arguing that it was fishing illegally in Somali waters.

Almost two months later, the Somali pirates released the boat for a ransom of some four million dollars after several attempts by the Spanish army to free the Alakrana had failed.

The Somali allegations that the Alakrana was illegally fishing in the Indian Ocean were never investigated. For Jack Thurston, a London-based activist monitoring EU subsidies for European companies, ‘it is almost certain that the Alakrana was fishing for species that are on the endangered list or not far from it’.

Thurston, founder and managing director of Fishsubsidy.org, a watchdog group that researches the EU’s subsidies for fisheries, told IPS that ‘the construction of Alakrana was part-funded by EU taxpayers to the tune of more than 4.2 million euro’.

Allegations that EU companies have been fishing illegally and dumping toxic waste in Somali waters have been frequent since a tsunami in Dec 2004 washed ashore containers full with medical, radioactive and chemical waste on the coast of Somalia.

This casual discovery was later confirmed by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). ‘Initial reports indicate that the tsunami waves broke open containers full of toxic waste and scattered the contents. We are talking about everything from medical waste to chemical waste products,’ Nick Nuttal, UNEP spokesperson, said at the time.

‘We know this material is on the land and is now being blown around and possibly carried to villages.’

Evidence gathered by the European Green party and environmental organisations show that Swiss and Italian companies have dumped toxic waste in the Indian Ocean.

The UN Special Representative for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, has also repeatedly raised the issue of illegal fishing and the dumping of toxic waste in Somali waters. During a UN conference in July 2008, he told the press, ‘because there is no (effective) government (in Somalia), there is so much irregular fishing from European and Asian countries’.

Ould-Abdallah also denounced illegal fishing in the Somali waters before EU authorities. During a 2009 meeting with the high command of the EU’s Atalanta mission in Mombassa, Kenya, Ould-Abdallah said that ‘there is no doubt that there is illegal fishing by Asia and Europe’.

There is no doubt indeed. European boats have been caught fishing illegally practically all over the world, as prosecutions in Canada, Norway, the U.S. and elsewhere show. In addition, given the depletion of fish in European waters, European vessels are forced to go fishing further away – in West African waters, from the Canary Islands in the North to Angolan waters in the south, or in the Indian Ocean.

The waters off Somalia’s shore are still rich with several tuna varieties – all highly priced in international markets. A 2005 report from the marine resources assessment group (MRAG) estimated that the Somali economy loses some 90 million dollars a year due to illegal fishing. Estimates by the UNEP put the figure as high as 300 million dollars a year.

Such figures led the German retired admiral Lutz Feldt to urge the EU authorities to extend the Operation Atalanta mandate to the fight of illegal fishing. ‘For many, illegal fishing is a quick way to make money but for most people in Somalia it represents a heavy loss,’ Feldt told the German news television programme Fakt.

Feldt recalled that, ‘according to international law illegal fishing is a crime and it should be treated as such’.

Even European fishing companies admit that they are exploiting the Indian Ocean waters and involved in illegal fishing.

During a hearing on Operation Atalanta at the European Parliament in April 2009, representatives from French and Spanish ship-owner organisations told deputies that there were about 40 EU fishing boats operating in the Indian Ocean to catch three or four species of tuna fish.

So far, no illegal fishing in the Indian Ocean has been reported as part of Operation Atalanta, let alone European ships being caught doing it.

‘The French and Spanish boats fishing in the Indian Ocean operate in international waters,’ a spokesperson of the mission told IPS. ‘If they were fishing illegally in the area, it would be up to the national authorities of their countries of origin to see that they stop doing it.’ ”

(Quelle: IPS News.)